[By Alam Zeb Safi; The News]
KARACHI: Former champions Army held defending champions Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) to a 1-1 draw while Chaman’s Afghan FC pulled off their maiden victory when they defeated Nushki’s Baloch FC 2-1 in matches of the 7th Pakistan Premier Football League held at different venues on Monday.
In an other tie of the day PAF were lucky to avoid a certain defeat when Navy’s midfielder Nomi Martin Gill missed a penalty in the dying moments as the match ended in a goalless draw in Peshawar.
At the newly-introduced, crowd-pulling, Municipal Stadium in Rawalpindi, KRL, who were missing their head coach Sajjad Mehmood due to some managerial complications, were the first to strike after a barren first half when international defender Samar Ishaq converted a penalty in the 56th minute. Army fought back strongly by inflicting a few good rallies.
In the 71st minute, soldiers, led by the country’s prime goalie Jaffar Khan, bounced back through a fine header from midfielder Muhammad Shabbir on a corner-kick which enabled the hosts grab a crucial point.
With the draw Army stretched their points to four from three matches while KRL moved to four points from two outings.
Meanwhile, at the Government High School Ground in Chaman, Afghan FC recovered from a 0-1 deficit to beat Nushki’s Baloch FC 2-1 in front of around 2000 fans.
Striker Sher Dil Khan put Baloch FC 1-0 ahead through a fine field effort in the 43rd minute. However, soon after the breather hosts Afghan FC fought back through an equaliser from striker Juma Khan in the 51st minute before midfielder Abdul Nasir sealed the hosts’ fate with a 2-1 victory through an excellent combined move in the 70th minute.
The triumph pushed Afghan FC to four points from two appearances while Baloch FC are trailing at one point from two meetings.
At the Qayyum Sports Complex in Peshawar, Nomi Martin Gill deserted stubborn Navy through a big miss when his shot on spot-kick went off the target three minutes before full time when the match was evenly poised with 0-0. Earlier, PAF played with full spirit but failed to convert any chance.
PAF raised their points to four from three matches while Navy opened their account with one point after two meetings.
Today’s fixtures: PEL v PMC (Model Town Football Academy Ground, Lahore), Young Blood FC v WAPDA (Rai Ali Nawaz Stadium, Sahiwal).